So, Talia's journey to my arms should probably begin on Monday afternoon, with my blood pressure being up (again). Now since it normally takes a heck of a lot to raise my blood pressure at all, off I headed to pregnancy day assessment for blood tests and more blood pressure monitoring.
The wait was *long* - I crocheted Morgan's Christmas hat in the waiting room - but the long sit down and a nice cuppa did the trick and I had a set of normal results. But on the way home I was feeling very achey and tight, and upset about the traditional hospital stressyness about us being post dates. I said to myself, I am just bloody well going to HAVE this baby already, and I want to wake up in labour tonight. But I dared not get my hopes up too much when I headed to bed still feeling strange and tight.
At 3.30am I woke up with a start and felt a little pop, and leaped out of bed to grab a towel. I still ached oddly, but just felt niggly and happy that my waters had broken, and went back to bed to get some more sleep. Martin got up, cleared the living room floor, and then came back to bed too. We both dozed a little. After a couple of hours I was out of bed again, feeling pressure coming and going with enough regularity to think I wouldn't be waiting days for things to start up for real. I belly-danced around the living room for a half hour, listening to folky music and swaying my hips, wow it felt so good to quietly labour away on my own.
Eventually I phoned the midwife, knowing my own midwife was on call til 8am and wanting there to be every chance of her being able to stay with me and skip her clinic that day! Then I woke Martin up, again, and had to tell him yet again that I didn't need him to leap out of bed to rescue me. ;) He was so sweet, and just stroked my shoulders a bit and told me over and over how happy he was.
I was feeling the need to concentrate more over time, although I'm sure these rushes were fairly irregular they were definitely getting stronger and longer and I was feeling more and more centred and calm and inside-myself-spacey. I still felt really sleepy, actually, totally comfortable sitting on my heels contracting away.
Rowan woke and came in, to chat to us all and sit in my mum's arms, and then her sisters joined us. As I progressed further I was less and less aware of where they were and what they were doing, but Rowan stayed around for almost the whole birthing, and all of them spent a lot of time quietly watching me and affectionately stroking me as they passed.
I have no idea when it was that I said I thought I'd want the pool soon. But oh my goodness, that pool just refused to get to temperature, and very soon I was feeling panicky and my mind was all over the place. I was going from calm visualisation in one long hard contraction to total messy whining in the next, I can't, I don't want to, I'm not ready, come back tomorrow. Jenna stroked my hair and told me I was about to have a baby, while I pressed my forehead into the sofa and whined through a long hard transition. Oh GOD please let me push soon, I said, a moment before someone said the pool was ready.
The midwife wanted to hear how baby's heart rates were doing, but I just shook my head, thinking, I can't talk, no talking, I can't move, don't make me move. My legs felt like jelly and I could feel just how low baby's head was sitting, and although I longed to be in the water I didn't think I'd make it in without falling down.
Two pairs of hands helped me in, and suddenly everything was *fine* and I felt blissy and magical again. And pushy. Oh my goodness, already? I felt ready. A few long sensations of pressure swept over me and I found myself singing, LOUD long low notes filling the room. The thought passed through my mind that I might be worrying the children, but I let it go, the sound felt raw and good and beautiful. I had always tried before to be a nice sweet quiet birther, and never ever felt like yelling and screaming, but this baby taught me that THIS is my grove in transition. I need to SING it out. My breathing steadied, I felt primal and strong and ready, and could feel the room just full of presences supporting and upholding me (having the children there was AWESOME).
Then came, seriously, two short HARD low-pressure-y contractions, in I felt almost no sensation of pushing (conscious or otherwise) but was very very aware of the feeling of baby's head sliding down. During the second contraction there, with my still singing, almost growling the low note, I had a moment of "the head will slide back" and I thought NO WAY, you are being born NOW, and gave a tiny push. And then there was a whole, small, soft body in the water, in my hands, up onto my chest, bright pink and round and so so tiny. Baby was just born. Just, like that. I felt like I didn't even work for it!
I said, "Baby! Baby baby baby! We did it! I SANG you out!" The second midwife gasped, "She's beautiful," and then asked excitedly, "What did you have? Boy or girl?!" Martin said, "We had a baby, that's all that matters." The cord was looped (tangled) all around baby, and I had to perform a little human tetris to untangle, at which point we saw that she was a perfect little fourth daughter. I nearly dunked her at least once she had the cord in such a mess! (Later the second midwife said as soon as she saw the face she though girl, she was just so dainty and pretty.)
Oh she was so pink, and so tiny, and so loud - she really did not stop mewling for half an hour (until her sisters held her, and then she went to sleep right on Rowan's lap).
I was overwhelmed with instant love. I looked at Martin and said, "I was so wrong, I love her, I am ready, I can do four, it is all so worth it for her." All of the girls had their hands in the water the second she was out, trying to touch any part of her they could reach. None of them can stop just *touching* her.
Talia Willow was born at 9am, 13th of December, and she is just loveliness. She lotus birthed, but much later in the day Martin noticed that she was distressed any time her cord touched any part of her skin. He felt she was disturbed by this familiar part of her world being cold and still rather than pulsing and living and warm. We decided that we would cut her cord, and since we did so she is much calmer. It felt totally right to leave it, but then totally right when we came to the point of deciding to separate her from her placenta: our ultimate goal of meeting her need as an individual, we all feel we totally honoured. :)
And so, we are babymooning, blissfully, gazing at her and drinking her in. Our little Talia Willow.